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The Story Collider

Updated 7 days ago

Arts
Society & Culture
Performing Arts
Personal Journals
Science
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Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!

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Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!

iTunes Ratings

668 Ratings
Average Ratings
385
246
16
14
7

The Intellectual Dilettante approves!

By The Intellectual Dilettante - Jan 16 2019
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Smart, well-told stories from smart, well-spoken people.

Superb podcast

By fortysok - Oct 15 2018
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Erin Barker and team do a great job!

iTunes Ratings

668 Ratings
Average Ratings
385
246
16
14
7

The Intellectual Dilettante approves!

By The Intellectual Dilettante - Jan 16 2019
Read more
Smart, well-told stories from smart, well-spoken people.

Superb podcast

By fortysok - Oct 15 2018
Read more
Erin Barker and team do a great job!
Cover image of The Story Collider

The Story Collider

Updated 7 days ago

Read more

Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!

Rank #1: Esther Perel: Science & sexuality

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Esther Perel's career gets an unexpected boost from the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal. Every week the Story Collider brings you a true, personal story about science. Find more here: http://storycollider.org/ Or subscribe on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-story-collider/id396452781?mt=2 Psychologist Esther Perel is recognized as one of the world's most original and insightful voices on couples and sexuality across cultures. Fluent in nine languages, the Belgian native is a celebrated speaker sought around the globe for her expertise in emotional and erotic intelligence, work-life balance, cross-cultural relations, conflict resolution and identity of modern marriage and family. Her best-selling and award-winning book, Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic, has been translated into 24 languages.

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May 27 2013
11 mins
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Rank #2: Dreams: Stories about ambition

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This week, we're presenting stories about scientific ambitions and dreams -- and the ways in which they meet reality.

Part 1: Planetary geologist Sara Mazrouei misses out on a dream opportunity -- because of where she was born.

Part 2: Working in conservation, marine ecologist Madhavi Colton faces down despair as the challenges feel overwhelming.

Sara Mazrouei is a PhD candidate in planetary geology at the University of Toronto. She’s also a science communicator with a passion for sharing the wonders of the universe with the public. Sara is a big advocate for women in STEM. One day she’ll go dancing on the Moon. 

Madhavi Colton is the Program Director at the Coral Reef Alliance. She oversees an international portfolio of community-driven conservation programs that are addressing local threats to reefs, including over-fishing, poor water quality, sedimentation, and habitat destruction. Madhavi is also spearheading new scientific research into how ecosystems adapt to the effects of climate change and is applying this knowledge to develop innovative approaches to coral conservation. Her expertise lies in building partnerships between academic researchers, non-profit organizations, governments and local communities to implement durable conservation solutions. She has worked in California, Hawai‘i, the Mesoamerican region, Indonesia, Fiji and Australia. Madhavi has a Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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Apr 20 2018
27 mins
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Rank #3: Andre Fenton: The twisting road from basic brain research to helping malaria patients

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André Fenton always wanted to do research at the most fundamental level -- to uncover basic truths about memory and how it works, never mind how useful. But a friend's accident unexpectedly leads to him inventing a spectacularly useful, and lifesaving, device.

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Mar 03 2013
14 mins
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Rank #4: Epidemic: Stories about medical crises

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This week, we present two stories of medical crises, from New York in the 1980s to the present-day opioid epidemic.

Part 1: During his residency training, pediatrician Ken Haller comes across a disturbing X-ray.

Part 2: Neuroscientist Maureen Boyle's relationship with her sister, who struggles with drug addiction, becomes even more complicated when she begins working on drug policy.

Episode transcript at http://www.storycollider.org/2017/8/4/epidemic-stories-of-medical-crises

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Ken Haller is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He is President of the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the boards of the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Gateway Media Literacy Project. He has also served as President of the St. Louis Pediatric Society; PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBT civil rights organization’ and GLMA, the national organization of LGBT health care professionals. He is a frequent spokesperson in local and national media on the health care needs of children and adolescents. Ken is also an accomplished actor, produced playwright, and acclaimed cabaret performer. In 2015 he was named Best St. Louis Cabaret Performer by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and he has taken his one-person shows to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco. His special interests include cultural competency, health literacy, the relationship of medicine to the arts, the effects of media on children, and the special health needs of LGBT youth. His personal mission is Healing. Ken is also a member of The Story Collider's board.

Maureen Boyle is the Chief of the Science Policy Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA. She is a neuroscientist who has spent the last 7 years working on behavioral healthcare reform and drug policy. Prior to joining NIDA she was a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.  Before getting involved in policy she studied the biological basis of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. When she wants to get out of her brain she runs, does yoga, and tries to apply Pavlov's lessons to her bulldog puppy. 

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Aug 04 2017
29 mins
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Rank #5: Coming of Age: Stories about growing up

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This week, we're presenting stories about coming of age. Bildungsroman, if you will. (Thank you, eleventh-grade Honors English!) These storytellers will share stories about growing up and finding their identities -- whether it's within their family, or within their own bodies.

Part 1: Growing up, Moni Avello struggles to understand her younger sister, who has Asperger's syndrome.

Part 2: For Morgan Givens, the onset of puberty feels like an alien invasion. 

Moni (Monika) Avello transplanted herself from Miami, FL to Cambridge, MA 7+ years ago in the pursuit of science, and has yet to regret her northward relocation. Moni prefers her hair a quarter shaved for temperature control and generously dyed to honor the rainbow. She is willingly addicted to strong espresso, a habit she picked up in the 3rd grade. Moni loves to social dance blues, salsa, and bachata. In her free time, she experiments with her favorite bacteria Bacillus subtilis, trying to figure out how it blocks unwanted sex, because science is wonderful fun and the Ph.D. degree in Biology from MIT is a nifty bonus.

Morgan Givens is a storyteller and performer based in Washington, DC. He has performed at Story District's Top Shelf, Creative Mornings DC, Little Salon and a host of other storytelling events throughout the city and along the East Coast. He has been featured in the Washington Post, Upworthy, Buzzfeed and participated in a panel at the 2017 AFI Documentary Film Festival Forum, titled Hear Me Now: The Art of Nonfiction Podcasting. Morgan is the creator and host of the podcast Dispatches, and uses his podcast to explore the intricacies of identity, culture, and the complicated nature of human interaction.

Please note: This June, The Story Collider will be celebrating Pride Month by highlighting stories about the intersection of science and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues. Each of our five episodes this month will include one of these stories, and you can follow us @story_collider on Twitter and @storycollider on Instagram this month as we share highlights from our back catalog as well.
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Jun 01 2018
27 mins
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Rank #6: Science Fiction: Stories about aliens and zombies

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This week, we take a journey into science-fiction to find out if aliens can master the science of empathy and zombies can bring a couple closer together.

Part 1: Chase Masterson's role on Star Trek Deep Space 9 inspires her to think about how she can help others.

Part 2: Bethany Van Delft and her fiance reckon with the zombie apocalypse.

Chase Masterson is best known for her five-year breakout role as Leeta on Star Trek DS9 & the Doctor Who Big Finishaudio spinoff, VIENNA. Seen Guest-Starring on The Flash, Chase is a fan-favorite for her roles starring opposite Bruce Campbell (SyFy'sTerminal Invasion), as well as opposite Jerry O’Connell, Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy, and Co-Hosting with Ryan Seacrest and Scott Mantz. Feature film roles include starring in Stephen King’s Sometimes They Come Back for More, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, and e-One’s critically acclaimed sci-fi noir, Yesterday Was a Lie, as well as playing herself in Miramax’s Comic Book: The Movie, directed by Mark Hamill, and an early role in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, directed by Mel Brooks (SQUEEE!). During the run of DS9, TV Guide Readers’ Poll named Chase Favorite Sci-Fi Actress on TV.  A devout feminist, Chase has consoled herself from being listed in AOL’s 10 Sexiest Aliens on TV, Screen Rant’s 15 Most Stunning Aliens on Star Trek and in Femme Fatales 50 Sexiest Women of the Year by creating a dizzying list of charity initiatives with ChaseClub: fundraisers for the firehouse most affected by 9/11, Caring for Babies with AIDS, Hurricane Katrina, and a long-standing relationship with Homeboy Industries, where she has mentored women and men coming out of gangs for the past 9 years. Chase is the Founder of the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, the 1st ever non-profit organization to stand against bullying, racism, misogyny, LGBTQI-bullying and cyberbullying using comics, TV and film. 

Bethany Van Delft’s “hip & grounded, laid back delivery” has earned her the honor of performing at the prestigious Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, San Francisco Sketchfest, as well as appearances on Comedy Central, TV Guide Channel, NickMom, and 2 Dope Queens podcast. Her "series at the Women in Comedy Festival "38/7%" was a huge hit, and monthly show, Artisanal Comedy, has been named “one of the top indie nights to check out”. Her latest project, a hilariously cringeworthy storytelling show/podcast with Nick Chambers “Starstruck: Close Encounters of the Awkward Kind” is becoming a fan favorite. Unashamedly in touch with her inner nerd, Bethany has been a panelist on “You’re The Expert” and “Literary Death Match”. She hosts MOTH mainstages around the country, MOTH storyslams & Grandslams, is thrilled to have a MOTH story re-posted by SULU! (aka George Takei) and honored to have a story included in The MOTH's 2nd book "All These Wonders".

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May 25 2018
29 mins
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Rank #7: Forever: Stories about unbreakable bonds

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This week we're sharing stories about love that stands the test of time, transcending illness, differences, and even death. In other words -- break out that box of tissues, y'all.

Part 1: Writer Alison Smith reconnects with her estranged father after he develops Alzheimer's disease. 

Part 2: Science journalist Peter Brannen mourns the loss of his mother while studying the earth’s biggest mass extinction.

Alison Smith is a writer and performer. Her writing has appeared in Granta, McSweeney’s, The London Telegraph, The New York Times, The Believer, Real Simple, Glamour and other publications.  Her memoir Name All the Animals was named one of the top ten books of the year by People and was shorted-listed for the Book-Sense Book-of-the-Year Award. Smith has been awarded Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Judy Grahn Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. The grand-prize winner of 2017’s Ko Festival Story Slam, Smith portrays Jane Jacobs in the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Peter Brannen is an award-winning science journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Wired, The Boston Globe, Aeon, Slate and The Guardian among other publications. His book, "The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions," is soon to be released in paperback. Published by Ecco in 2017, it was a New York Times Editor's Choice and was named one of the "10 Best Environment, Climate Science and Conservation Books of 2017" by Forbes.

Note: This June, The Story Collider will be celebrating Pride Month by highlighting stories about the intersection of science and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues. Each of our five episodes this month will include one of these stories, and you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram this month as we also share highlights from our back catalog as well.

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Jun 08 2018
30 mins
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Rank #8: Sara Peters and Peter Aguero: Praying for a seizure

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Sara Peters has epilepsy, but no drugs seem to help. So she agrees to be hooked up to a machine at the hospital for days, in hopes of inducing the one thing she and her husband, Peter Aguero, dread the most: a seizure. Recorded at TEDMED 2013. Video: http://tedmed.com/talks/show?id=189377 Originally from New Jersey, Sara Peters now lives in Sunnyside, Queens with her charming, maddening husband. A tech writer whose work focuses on IT security, she is currently editor-in-chief of a Web publication for IT professionals. Sara is also a storyteller and actor. Onstage she's played a Texan housewife, an Oklahoman spinster, an Irish housekeeper, and an English android. She's been a rower, a ballerina, a track runner, a Hula Hoop instructor, and is an occasional and very poor surfer. Her favorite television show is Naruto, which is a Japanese cartoon about a teenage ninja. Peter Aguero was born and raised in the wilds of South Jersey. He is a Moth Grandslam Champion, host of Moth Storylams and an instructor for the Mothshop Community Program. He is also the lead singer of The BTK Band, NYC's Hardest-Drinking Improvised Storytelling Rock Band. Peter loves his Mom. Every week the Story Collider brings you a true, personal story about science. Find more here: http://storycollider.org/. If you enjoy these stories, please consider donating, http://storycollider.org/donate

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Jul 16 2013
18 mins
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Rank #9: Special Episode - Outtakes! (And a request for help)

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The Story Collider needs your help! Our initial funding is coming to an end, and we need your help to keep going. It doesn't take a lot, $1/podcast will go a long way. As a thanks if you donate, we'll give you a special podcast with some of the storylets we tell in the live shows between the main stories. Here's a sample of those. If you'd like to contribute or for more info, head to http://www.patreon.com/thestorycollider. Thanks!

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Nov 22 2013
9 mins
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Rank #10: Robin & Samantha Henig: The rules of writing with your daughter

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Robin Marantz Henig and her daughter, Samantha, decided to write a book together about life as a twentysomthing. There was just one problem -- how to handle the bits you don't want to talk about with your mother?

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Feb 24 2013
15 mins
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Rank #11: Amy Cuddy: Passing As Myself

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After a terrible head injury, Amy Cuddy wakes up in the hospital to find she's a different person. Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist and Harvard Business School Associate Professor who studies how snap judgments and nonverbal behavior affect people from the classroom to the boardroom. Amy Cuddy's fascinating work on "power posing" reveals how your physical posture affects not only how others see you, but also how you see yourself, your own hormone levels, and your performance and important life outcomes. Researching stereotypes, emotions, nonverbal behaviors, and hormone levels, Amy explains to audiences the role these variables play in shaping our emotions, intentions and behaviors in business and society. Amy's work has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Financial Times, Scientific American Mind, The Wall Street Journal, and even as the theme of a Dilbert comic strip. Business Insider just named Amy as one of 2013's "50 Women Who are Changing the World." Her TED Talk is now the second most viewed of all time. She is also a classically trained (and still practicing) ballet dancer, which informs her research on nonverbal communication. Help keep us going! If you love the podcast, please donate here: http://www.patreon.com/thestorycollider

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Apr 02 2014
23 mins
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Rank #12: Just a Number: Stories about age and science

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This week, we’re presenting two stories about age, and what it means to feel either too old or too young to become a scientist.

Part 1:  Miserable at her corporate job, Michelle McCrackin begins to dream of a career in wildlife biology.
Part 2: Volcanologist Ben Kennedy’s attempts to be taken seriously as a scientist are undermined by his youthful appearance.

Michelle McCrackin is a research scientist at Stockholm University’s Baltic Sea Center. Her research focuses on human-enhanced eutrophication, a process that reduces water clarity and causes dead zones and large algal blooms in lakes and coastal waters. She moved to Sweden from the US for the opportunity to join a new team that works to bridge the gap between scientists and decision makers in the Baltic Sea region. Michelle is actively involved with science communication though public seminars, web-articles, policy briefs, blogs, and face-to-face meetings with politicians and civil servants. Her Swedish skills are limited to reading menus and navigating public transportation; her attempts to speak Swedish usually leave people looking confused.   

Ben Kennedy is an associate professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Canterbury. His work involves physical volcanology and fieldwork, geoscience education, experimental volcanology, interpreting volcano monitoring data, measurements of volcanic rock properties, and calderas and magma plumbing. Basically, Ben loves rocks and working out why volcanoes erupt in various different ways. He travels to various volcanoes all around the world to collect rocks, then takes the rocks back to the University of Canterbury and does various experiments to learn more about the eruptions in which they originated.  

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Jan 04 2019
31 mins
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Rank #13: Saswato R. Das: Wrong number

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A wrong number to a friend in Sri Lanka leads Saswato Das to the final interview with a famous science fiction writer. Saswato R. Das has written about science and technology for more than two decades for publications that include the Economist, Scientific American, New Scientist, the International Herald Tribune/ New York Times global edition, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, the Times Literary Supplement (UK), the Times of India, IEEE Spectrum, the Bell Labs Technical Journal, etc. He has a background in astrophysics and has taught undergraduate astronomy within the CUNY system. Every week the Story Collider brings you a true, personal story about science. Find more and subscribe to our podcast at our website: http://storycollider.org/

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Nov 18 2013
16 mins
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Rank #14: Science Communication: Stories about spreading the word

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This week, we present two stories about communicating science, whether it's through journalism or over a fragile Skype connection.

Part 1: Science journalist Judith Stone worries about causing conflict when she writes about cultural differences aboard the International Space Station.

Part 2: Nurse Anna Freeman is frustrated by the limits of technology when she attempts to advise a Syrian hospital over a shaky Skype connection.

Judith Stone is the author of Light Elements: Essays on Science from Gravity to Levity, a collection of her award-winning columns from Discover magazine. Her book When She Was White: The True Story of a Family Divided by Race was named one of the Washington Post’s annual top 100 books. Her work has appeared in the anthologies Mysteries of Life and the Universe: New Essays from America’s Finest Writers on Science and Life’s a Stitch: The Best of Contemporary Women’s Humor, as well as in The New York Times Magazine; Smithsonian; O, The Oprah Magazine and many other publications. She was on the founding board of The Moth, and is currently an instructor in The Moth’s community outreach program. During the Late Cretaceous Epoch, she was a member of The Second City touring company.

Anna Freeman is a nurse and quality improvement specialist at Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders. She has worked in humanitarian response in ten countries over the past ten years, focusing on refugee health, infectious disease, and quality of care.  Anna is an excellent dancer, an enthusiastic fumbler in any foreign language, and one of the world’s worst surfers.

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Apr 06 2018
27 mins
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Rank #15: Paula Croxson: When your grandmother forgets who you are

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When Paula Croxson began to study memory as a neuroscientist, she also learned a new way of thinking about her grandmother's failing memory.

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Mar 24 2013
13 mins
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Rank #16: Jon Ronson: Jon Ronson Vs Jon_Ronson

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When Jon Ronson discovers a twitter account pretending to be him, he sets off to find it's creators. Jon Ronson is a British nonfiction author, documentary maker and screenwriter. His books, Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare At Goats, The Psychopath Test, and Lost At Sea, have all been international bestsellers. He's a regular contributor to the PRI show This American Life, and has appeared at TED, and on The Daily Show. His new book, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” is available now.

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Apr 11 2015
17 mins
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Rank #17: Jonaki Bhattacharyya: Losing Control

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Jonaki Bhattacharyya ventures out into rugged Canadian wilderness to research wild horses — but can does she have what it takes to survive? This story was produced as part of the Springer Storytellers series. Hear and read more at www.beforetheabstract.com/ Jonaki Bhattacharyya, PhD, does applied research in ethnoecology (focusing on Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledge), conservation planning, and wildlife management. Integrating cultural values and knowledge systems with ecological issues, her research endeavors have ranged from remote villages in India to backcountry meadows in British Columbia (BC), Canada. As Senior Researcher with The Firelight Group Research Cooperative, Jonaki works with First Nations and communities in Western Canada. Focusing on relationships between people, animals and places, she seeks to make applied contributions to conservation and human management practices around wildlife, protected areas, natural resources, and ecological systems.

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Feb 26 2016
18 mins
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Rank #18: Layne Jackson Hubbard: Still Myself

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Layne Jackson Hubbard wakes up in a hospital room with a head wound and no memory of how she got there. Layne Jackson Hubbard is a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder and is the founder of MindScribe, a startup company working to empower early childhood development through creative technologies. During her undergrad at CU Boulder, she successfully spoke before the Board of Regents to create a new Neuroscience degree for the university's students. She has a B.A. in Computer Science and graduated #1 in her class. Her research is funded by the Chancellor's Fellowship.

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Oct 14 2016
13 mins
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Rank #19: Adam Rogers: Separating Cells

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Adam Rogers gets an exciting opportunity to work in a marine biology lab, and see if he really wants to be a biologist. Adam Rogers is articles editor at WIRED, where he edits features about miscellaneous geekery and runs the science desk. His features for the print magazine have included stories about the astrophysics of the movie Interstellar, a fan cruise for apex nerds, and a mysterious fungus that lives on whisky fumes. That last one won the 2011 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for magazine writing and lead to Rogers' New York Times bestselling book Proof: The Science of Booze. Rogers was a presenter and writer for the television show WIRED Science, which aired on PBS in 2007. Prior to joining WIRED, he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and before that Rogers was a writer and reporter at Newsweek.

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Nov 22 2015
14 mins
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Rank #20: Emily Graslie: From landscapes to taxidermy

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How does a landscape artist become the host of a popular science show on YouTube? For Emily Graslie it started with pictures of a wolf head on Facebook. Emily Graslie graduated from The University of Montana with a BFA in painting in 2011. Her relationship with science began as an internship with The University of Montana Zoological Museum during her senior year. What started off as a means to practice scientific illustration gradually developed into a love of skeletal preparation and an interest in the inner workings of natural history museums. In January of 2013, with the help of YouTube educator Hank Green and producer Michael Aranda, Emily and co. launched a YouTube channel about science museums and research collections. 'The Brain Scoop' aims to share the wonderful inner and outer workings of natural history museums by discussing all aspects of science, biology, and the joys of discovery. Every week the Story Collider brings you a true, personal story about science. Find more and subscribe to our podcast at our website: http://storycollider.org/

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Oct 14 2013
12 mins
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